Serious health and business issues might have been the demise of many people but somehow Victor Wilson has survived and thrived through the challenges of the past 15 years overseeing the Fort Worth-based Wilson Home Services.
“I’ve been on death’s door so many times but for some reason, God hasn’t taken me yet,” said Wilson, whose company specializes in residential and light commercial system needs. “I’m lucky to be here. I was supposed to have died five times and didn’t.”
It all started in July 2010 when he suffered a stroke, something that prompted him to initially retire. It was about then he also learned his right diaphragm hadn’t worked for about 10 years.
Though he restarted his business, his health continued to deteriorate to the point he joined the Baylor University Hospital heart transplant program in 2012 after which he spent much time learning all he needed to know about receiving a new heart. He even had to wear a heart muscle pump in a fanny pack around his waist and an IV tube in his arm while waiting for a suitable donor.
On July 17, 2017, after delays that his doctors thought might remove him from eligibility, a suitable heart was found. While he left the hospital seven days later, in October he returned to the emergency room with multiple pulmonary embolisms from which he was told most people die.
He contracted West Nile virus in 2018 and RSV virus in 2020. Fortunately, since then he’s been feeling much better thanks in part to 29 daily medications.
“With heart transplants, if you make it past the first year, that’s the huge thing,” he said. “Most people die within the first year. After that, the average is 10 years but a year-and-a-half ago the world record was set by a man of 34 years and 4 months. I would like to break that record and if I do, I’ll be like 88 years old and so I think that’s a good goal. But I don’t have any anticipation I will make it to tomorrow. I take every day as a gift from God.”
Heredity was the major reason for Wilson’s problems. His father died at age 57 from cardiomyopathy caused by a mutated gene that Victor learned through DNA testing that he inherited.
Wilson grew up in Childress, Texas, where from 1987 to 2007, he owned and operated Wilson Plumbing, Heating, AC, and Electrical. He grew that company from scratch to 8 trucks, 10 employees, and more than $3M in annual revenues. He also owned 15 rental properties and a ranch.
He closed that business and moved to Keller to be closer to where his wife Lara grew up. After spending about $300,000-$400,000 to establish and grow his business here to about 3,500 customers, he was forced to retire when he suffered from TIA strokes and heart failure. Once he was stabilized, he returned to work as a service manager, vice president, general manager, and training manager for multiple area businesses. But none gave him the same satisfaction of owning his own company. So in 2015, to prove to himself he could do it, he started over initially out of his home.
Through Homeadvisor.com, he built his business to 1,000 customers and earned the Best of Home Advisor Award in 2017, 2018, and 2019. He semi-retired again after his 2020 health problems but ran into issues with the company he sold the business to and decided to re-start it again at his current location. Since then things have worked out well.
“I feel like I have the old school values that customers like,” he said. “They trust me. I have the small-town values that I wish more in our industry followed.”
It also helps that he is one of only nine contractors statewide and one of two in the Metroplex with master licenses in plumbing, electrical/electrical contracting, and HVAC/commercial refrigeration.
Since 2018, he has regularly connected with the family of his heart donor, 21-year-old Frankie Vigil who died when hit by a car in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He even has a large tattoo on his left arm to recognize Vigil.
“Organ donation, in my opinion, is the absolute best gift anyone can give,” he said. “I certainly didn’t deserve any of it but I give thanks to all the prayers so many have prayed the past few years.”